Recipe For The Week: “Abacha” -The African Salad
Abacha is one of the most popular meals amongst the Igbos. This wonderful meal serves as one of the evening desserts in some eastern villages. Abacha from an Igbo perspective remains the best kola to offer a well-respected visitor in your house. As a matter of fact, some villages in the eastern part of Nigeria only offer Ugba or Abacha to visitors till date.
You would enjoy it best when it is served with fresh palm wine. Hmmm! I’d say you should check that out on your next visit to the East.
Meanwhile, the fresh Abacha (African salad) is a by-product of cassava. There are lots of processes involved with obtaining the ideal fresh Abacha. Not to worry, I can take you through this process just in a matter of minutes!
*3 cups Palm oil
*4 pieces Fresh fish (fried)
*2 stock Seasoning (Maggi/Knorr)
*1 teaspoon ground Ehu seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)
*Dry Pepper, (ground)
*4 Garden eggs
*1 tsp. potash (kaun)
*3 Utazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium)
*Garden egg leaves (Optional)
*Pomo / Kanda (cow skin)
*2 large Red Onions
*4 Handfuls of Abacha
*1 wrap of Ugba (Ukpaka)
* Stockfish (optional)
The first thing to do would be to get a bunch of freshly harvested cassava; that’s if you live in the village or own a farm. The next is to wash your cassava thoroughly, add washed cassava in a sizable pot and boil with water for about twenty to thirty minutes then pill to remove the brown outer layer and cut to tiny bits. The sliced cassava is then soaked in water for about 20 hours or more. Finally, remove soaked cassava and wash thoroughly with clean water then sun-dry and store in an airtight seal.
However, if you live in a developed city, then you really don’t need to go through this tiresome process, just purchase every single item on the ingredients cart from the market and get started!
- Soak your dried Abacha in a bowl of warm water for about 30 minutes till it’s soft, then drain
- Cook Kanda till it’s soft then cut into small cubes
- Wash Utazi, cut it and set aside
- Wash your fresh Garden eggs and Onions, dice them and set aside. Also cut the other bulb of onion in ring-like circles and set aside
- Mix potash in a bowl with a little warm water till it leaves a nice consistency.
Mixing ingredients together
- In a sizable pot, pour palm oil and the potash mixture (ensure you don’t pour in the potash -residue along).
- Stir consistently till the palm-oil and potash mixture turn yellow paste
- Add the ground “ehu seasoning”, Ground pepper, diced onions, Crayfish and Ugba (Ukpaka), then stir very well till the mixture is well incorporated.
- Add the Iru/ogiri and diced kpomo and stir well
- Finally, gently add your soaked abacha into the mixture. Make sure you incorporate the whole mixture together.
- Finally, dress the ready to serve Abacha with sliced Utazi, (Its quite bitter so add as appropriate), and then add your garden eggs, onion rings, stock fish and fried fish for a perfect and irresistible taste.
Dried cassava chips can last more than a year if stored in an air tight container, which is the rewarding part if you choose to process your Abacha by yourself.